Monday, October 25, 2010

screw this day

Ever have days where you... wake up exhausted and you feel like there's a force physically weighing on your chest? Or in my case, it's weighing on my back since I usually come to with my face planted in a scrunched up wad of cotton in a pillowcase. The first thought that passes through the fog between your ears is actually the most rational one you will have all day:  "Shit, I am barely treading water."  Then you drag yourself up, take a deep breath that gets caught before it hits your lungs, and paint on a fake smile.  When you put one foot in front of the other and start to face your day, your overriding thought is "I f'ing hate everyone."  Ring any bells? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

That's all I got.  Just wondered if there are any other crazies out there. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

happy birthday to my boy

My boy. My beautiful, smart, witty, artistic boy with a heart as big as an ocean and a soul as old as time. 

My boy is the first one to jump in a freezing lake to support one he loves. He wants to save the planet. He is your friend because of your heart and mind, not your status.

My boy thinks so deeply it sometimes hurts my heart. He loves knowledge. He is not a follower and he is not a leader.  He is true to himself. 

My boy does not conform for conformity's sake. He grows his hair long. He carries a candle to the front of the church that he questions because he wants to do his part. He believes in God and sorts out religion. 

I look into my boy's eyes and I float in a sea of everything I know to be true.  He teaches me.  He seeks answers.  I am his home.  He is mine. 

My boy moves slowly despite any need to hurry.  He talks back. He does not hear instructions. He strums a guitar. He stands on stage and is not afraid to sing. He jokes and his belly laugh is the best sound I have ever heard.

My boy cries. He hurts.  He adapts. He learns. He spontaneously wraps his arms around my neck and squeezes. 

My boy loves history. He is proud of where he comes from. He fiercely loves his family.  We are his home. 

My boy is better than me. He is mine. 

Happy Birthday

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

all jammed up

Dad and J memory
Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

--Paul Simon

I haven't been inspired to write much lately.  Life gets in the way and fills my head.  There's too much to sort out. Most of the time I just have to wait.  My mind spins like a top, and when it stops, the pieces fall into neat little places that make sense.  Then there are those times when big chunks of emotion become lodged waiting for me to dig in and do the work.  It is holing up and daring me to pick it apart and figure out what to do with it.  This is one of those times.

There is a part of my life I rarely talk about, even to those closest to me.  I pretend I don't know how to deal with it.  I tell myself that I haven't sorted out my emotions yet. That's a lie.  The truth is I know what I should be doing.  I am able to recognize my grief, fear, anger, abandonment, and guilt.  The truth is I get paralyzed by it... and I haven't done the work.

Many people know what it's like to lose a parent.  Fewer people know what it's like to lose a parent who is still living.  My young 63-year-old father is here with us, but a series of strokes has forever altered his being. He looks like my dad, but he doesn't sound like him and he doesn't act like him. He remembers everything about his life and mine, but I can't tell if he remembers what it means.  Sometimes I see glimpses of his spirit, but it is cloaked in his sadness. I wonder if I'm just remembering...or wishing.

How do you parent a parent? It is the caring for that is the hardest part. Even though it sucks, it's not the actual act of managing his bank account, washing his dishes, and taking out his trash that is difficult.  It's the idea of putting yourself in a parenting role for the person who is supposed to parent you. I'm not talking about just the logistical side of care-giving like taking him to doctor appointments and making sure he has a solid meal.  This is the tricky 'I don't know what the hell I am doing and am I fucking this up?' kind of parenting role. Who knows how to scold a parent for putting a box of Little Debbie's in the fridge next to his insulin? Who wants to tell their dad that you are taking away his checking account?  Can you tell me how to make him understand that if he sends in a hundred bucks, he is not going to win a million?  Just exactly how do I go about doing that? 

I have done all those things that I just mentioned, but it feels like I stood outside of my body and watched it happen.  It's the hazy reality that feels like it should belong to someone else. My whole life I have been strong, independent, and yes dear, stubborn.  I know how to get shit done.  I am not afraid of hard work.  There has been loss, heartache, divorce, illness, single parenting, and I've come through it all with shining colors.  Why do I feel like the biggest failure on the face of the earth when it comes to taking care of my dad?  Why do I sit home and think about what I should do but not do it?  Why do my legs feel like lead when I walk through his door? 

Last Friday on the forty minute drive to his house after too long an absence, I watched the combines humming in the field and counted the wagons full of grain. I admired the beauty of the harvest against the clear sky and felt the sun on my face.  My music was up loud and I was singing along with Tom.  My mind wandered, but I never let it go to where it needed to go.  It never went to my task at hand, so I didn't plan what to say or how to say it.  I don't remember how it came out, but somehow I managed. I came home spent like I had run all the way there and back. For now, that's how I do it.  Maybe on the next trip I will turn the music down and do some of the work...before I have to do the work.